Sweetwater Vineyard: Steep hillsides drop dramatically to the valley below.
Mr. Beethoven
Pinot Noir Dornfelder

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Welcome! Ludwig Winery specializes in northern European varietals. I offer vineyard designated Riesling and a very rare Pinot Noir/Dornfelder blend - think of it as an Austrian or German styled Pinot Noir. All selections are dry or off dry and made in a food friendly style. I make only vineyard designated Rieslings because like no other grape varietal, Riesling responds to where it’s grown and any variation in soil or weather will cause a proportional change in the subsequent wine. Blending would only mute the expression of terrior.

Monterey, because of its very cool, coastal climate has always been known for producing exemplar and classic Rieslings; in fact we sell most of our Riesling in Germany and Switzerland, places that know Riesling. I’ve been able acquire small quantities of grapes from what I consider some of the best vineyards in the region. I work with the vineyard owners to fine tune just a few acres of their vineyard for our very limited release wines.

Dornfelder is scarce so I had to plant my own vines. Consequentially the project has been quite a few years in the making. I am very pleased with what I see in barrel - who knew cold climate Dornfelder was so richly colored! (Dornfelder is sometimes known as German Pinot so we’ve planted it in the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation next to some very highly regarded Pinot Noir.)

News: 2010 Ludwig Hammerklavier takes Gold Medal at San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Sweetwater Riesling

Ludwig 2010 Pinot Noir Dornfelder, Hammerklavier,

Santa Lucia Highlands

Release letter


Life of Psy


Park Jae-sang or Psy, as the kids know him, creator of Gangnam Style, attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music, the school that graduated Quincy Jones, Branford Marsalis, Melisa Etheridge, guitar wizard Steve Vai and many other talented musicians. Mr. Jae-sang’s education must have included the theory and science of music though how well he learned his lessons is unclear considering only his pop tune. I’m guessing he can drive a circle of 5ths in a Bach-like manner at least as good as Ray Manzarek did in the opening sequence of Light My Fire. It’s difficult for me to understand why a learned musician would ignore most of the harmonic and rhythmic innovations of the last 327 years and instead focus on creating relatively simple music. Music students study examples of Beethoven. They learn his innovations and that he continually graduated to greater musical heights, eventually writing music so progressive that it would take 100 years for academia to catch up.  Shouldn’t students find this inspirational? (Don’t winemakers site Gaja, Mondavi or great individual wines?) Shouldn’t Beethoven and other great composers raise the ambitions of the disciple? Evidence of the accretive composer, a few quick and accessible mentions, could be Zappa on Sinister Footwear, Davis on Bitches Brew or Sonic Youth on SYR4 or even Phil Lesh sitting behind me and Jerry Garcia a few seats to my right, both undisturbed and minimally recognized at a symphonic concert of modern expressionism.


The point, and it’s an obvious one, is made clear and contemporary in this quote from Dave Grohl (Nirvana and Foo Fighters), “The deep cuts don’t f…ing keep the mansion running. Write (songs) like they’re a bumper sticker. Don’t bore us; get to the chorus.” Rather than pass judgment on Psy’s musical talent we should acknowledge his insightful play at commercially relevant music. (For the record, I did my in-depth Beethoven study at UC Davis while completing my winemaking degree. During recitals, the professor publicly reacted to classroom chatter with the same disappointment and consternation as the late Dick Graph would if someone held a wine glass by the bowl instead of the stem. Let’s hear it for the pedagogues.)


If a wine only has a shy moment to make an eye dilating impact, then what’s the play for a winemaker with a new wine and an unfamiliar concept? There’ll never be enough room on a bumper sticker for an explanation of Dornfelder’s link to Pinot Noir and Blaufränkisch. Nor can I present in a flash my personal reasons for planting cryophilic Dornfelder or why I feel my subsequent blended wine can lay in the distant shadow of Beethoven’s 29th piano sonata (the Hammerklavier.)

My Pinot Noir-Dornfelder blend is a unique and multitasking wine, which could fit right in given our complicated lives and appetite for new stimulation. Or the wine could be right out considering our tendency to seek instant gratification, allowing no time for setting the scene or mood.  After all, today many listen to music using tiny ear buds, exchanging lower fidelity for everywhere accessibility and convenience.  Compare that to what we did in olden days when high fidelity could improve your social status; we cranked up the towers (tweeter, woofer and a sub woofer bigger than your head.)

Right in or out I don’t know but hopefully this Pinot Noir Dornfelder blend is right on, first of all because this wine tastes good and second because it’s not like what you drank last night and most likely you’re a person who likes variety and believes it takes many different styles of wine to find the perfect pairing for endless types of cuisine. I know people like Pinot Noir from Santa Lucia Highlands and Sommelier’s really like this blend to complement the more savory and earthy items on their menu. You won’t be seeing this wine in a big box store this decade because apparently it takes the gravity of a Hollywood production to quickly change the tides of our wine drinking community, but today if you apply some of your personal band width to this wine, in all of its blended, cool climate complexity, you should be pleased.





Ludwig 2010 Pinot Noir Dornfelder, Hammerklavier, Santa Lucia Highlands

66.7% Pinot Noir and 33.3% Dornfelder

250 cases produced, Email: 

Ludwig, a winery doing "something different, and better, than anyone else."
- Steve Heimoff, Wine Enthusiast